Creating Accessible Links

Most of the time, you will create links in your source documents and these will be carried over into your PDF document.  If created correctly, the links will be accessible most of the time.  When a link is accessible in the PDF, this means that the link provides a connection to the target site that can be operated by the user via assistive technology, such as a screen reader.  Inaccessible links are those that appear to be links to a target site but do not link to a web site at all, leaving end users confused when navigating the PDF.  If the links that are carried over into your PDF document are not accessible, or if you want to create a new accessible link, you can do that within Acrobat.

Please Note: The following steps describe how to add links to your PDF by use of the Create Link command in Adobe Acrobat.  This Create Link command in Adobe Acrobat is the correct and only method for creating links from existing text in a PDF that properly adds the link to the tag structure.  Adding links using the "Link Tool" or the "Create From URLs in Document" options in Adobe Acrobat do not correctly add the link information to the tags tree.  When adding links in Adobe Acrobat, use the Create Link command only.

  1. Select the text or object in your document for which you want to create a link.
  2. Right click the selection, and choose Create Link from the context menu.

    Selecting text in your document that you want to make a link, right clicking on selected text and selecting the "Create Link" option.
  3. In the Create Link dialog box, select the appropriate options, and then follow the on-screen instructions to specify a URL, page view, or file as the link target.

    Specifying criteria in the Create Link dialog box for your desired link.  Edit URL Dialog Box prompts you to enter a URL for the link.  "Select a link action - in this case, Open a Web page, then enter a URL."

  4. By default, the selected text for each link becomes the link text.  After you add all the links, you can edit the tag tree to add alternate text to the links, further improving the accessibility of the PDF:

    PDF document displays selected text as a new link.

Note: Adding links using the "Link Tool" or the "Create From URLs in Document" options in Adobe Acrobat do not correctly add the link information to the tags tree.

Video Tutorial - Creating Accessible Links (2:47)


  • This training has been funded in part by the EnACT (Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology) grant. 
  • Written and developed by Sacramento State Online Learning professionals, Monica Range and Cryssel Vera and technical crew, Ivan Vajar, Ken Young, and Jennifer Wicks with guidance from the CSU Professional Development Work Group.


If you have difficulty accessing any material on this site or need an alternate format, or you just have questions and want to give feedback, contact the Accessible Technology Initiative.

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